Sunday 25 August 2019

Tributes flow for Kevin

Wexford star’s enforced retirement from football

Kevin Doyle on his last international appearance for Ireland against Iceland in the Aviva Stadium last March
Kevin Doyle on his last international appearance for Ireland against Iceland in the Aviva Stadium last March

Dave Devereux

Tributes have poured in for Wexford's own Kevin Doyle after he announced his enforced retirement from professional football last week.

The Adamstown native had suffered repeated headaches and two concussions this season, and after receiving medical advice, made the decision to call time on a wonderful 16-year playing career in Ireland, England and finally, with Colorado Rapids in the United States.

'Today I'm sad to announce that after listening to medical advice I will play no further part this season and will be retiring,' the 34-year-old said in a statement he issued last Thursday.

'This year it has been clear to me that heading the ball was becoming problematic, and causing me to have repeated headaches. Two concussions this season and numerous others over the years have made this more concerning.

'After consulting with experts in the field it has been decided that to avoid the possibility of these symptoms becoming more serious and permanent, I will be hanging up my boots for good,' he said.

F.A.I. C.E.O. John Delaney paid tribute to Doyle, who had been named in the Ireland squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Wales before his announcement, describing him as a 'great servant' for his country.

'I am very saddened to hear of Kevin's decision to retire from football and I would like to pay tribute to one of the most hard-working and dedicated players to have represented the Republic of Ireland.

'Kevin is one of the great Irish goal scorers of all time, who gave everything for his country. You could see that he appreciated every minute that he had on the pitch in a green jersey.

'He made his mark in the League of Ireland and quickly transferred those talents to the international stage.

'Kevin was a great servant for his country and I wish him and his family the very best for the future. We would like to pay tribute to Kevin at the Aviva Stadium for his immense contribution to Irish football, at a time that is appropriate for him,' he said.

Ireland manager Martin O'Neill was also fulsome in his praise for the Wexford man, lauding his professional attitude on and off the pitch.

'I am disappointed to hear that Kevin has had to retire from football.

'Kevin was extremely popular with all of the players in the Irish camp and he was an excellent professional, who has served his clubs and country very well during his career.'

Having shown his promise on the football fields of the Model county from an early age, Doyle went on to shine for Mick Wallace's Wexford Youths Under-18s, before being snapped up by St. Patrick's Athletic.

It was after his move to Cork City that he really began to turn heads, scoring 25 goals in 76 appearances for the Turner's Cross outfit, earning him a move to English side Reading, where he helped them win promotion to the Premier League in 2006.

After a successful stint with the Royals, he moved to Wolverhampton Wanderers for a then club-record fee of £6.5 million in 2009.

Doyle finished his ten years playing in England with 92 goals in 357 appearances for Reading, Wolves, Queens Park Rangers and Crystal Palace.

In his time with Colorado Rapids he appeared in 71 regular season matches, scoring 16 goals, with eight assists to his name.

On the international stage Doyle really endeared himself to fans with the pride he showed in wearing the green of Ireland and his unquestionable work ethic.

A former under-age international, Doyle made his senior debut against Sweden in 2006 and had the honour of leading his country out as captain in the 1-0 friendly win over South Africa in Thomond Park in September, 2009.

He scored 14 goals in 63 appearance for his country and was Under-21 International Player of the Year for 2005, Young International Player of the Year (2006), and was twice named the Senior Player of the Year (2008 and 2010), as well as winning the International Goal of the Year gong on three occasions (2007, 2010, 2012).

Doyle's final appearance in a green jersey was in the defeat to Iceland last March in the Aviva Stadium.

He is joint 21st in the all-time appearance charts and joint sixth in the all-time goal scoring charts for Ireland.

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